Video Premiere: Eric Ambel “Don’t Make Me Break You Down”


Track culled from forthcoming vinyl-only release. Album will appeal to people who break in their own jeans.

By Fred Mills

Roscoe’s back – Eric Ambel, that is. The erstwhile Del-Lords/Yayhoos rocker, mainstay of his own Roscoe’s Gang, and former member of Steve Earle and Joan Jett’s bands, has his first solo album due April 1. And that’s no joke, folks: titled Lakeside and featuring Jimbo Mathus as producer and collaborator, Ambel describes it as “a pretty good representation of what I do. For me, the looser the better.  That’s kind of what I feel like I have to offer.  And to be loose, you have to be really good.  A thing that I learned in college was that you clean up the house before the party, not after.”

Well, all right then! We’re pretty pleased to be able to loosen the BLURT readership up as well with this exclusive look at a new video for album track “Don’t Make Me Break You Down.” Check it out:

“‘Don’t Make Me Break You Down’ is as pure of an Ambel/Mathus collaboration as possible.  The song was written by the two, inspired by Jimbo’s work on the Buddy Guy Sweet Tea record.  Ambel and Mathus are the only musicians on the cut, recorded in Brooklyn; Mathus directed the video, which was shot in Jimbo’s back yard in Taylor, Mississippi.

The entire album is raw and rocking – the title is a nod to Ambel’s old bar, NYC’s Lakeside Lounge – and, as Ambel puts it, “The stuff on this record is just stuff that I really like. I didn’t have to think about how I was gonna play the songs live, or if anybody will play it on the radio.  I’m not looking to change the record business.  There are a certain number of people who are interested in what I do, and they’re the ones I’m aiming to reach.  If you’re the kind of person who breaks in your own jeans, then you might like this record.”

It’s a pretty logical follow-up to his previous solo joints: 1988’s Roscoe’s Gang, 1995’s Loud and Lonesome and 2004’s Knucklehead. And so what if he only cuts an LP per decade – dude stays pretty busy, over the years operating his own studio, Brooklyn’s Cowboy Technical Services, as well as producing records by scores of artists, including the Bottle Rockets, the Blood Oranges, Nils Lofgren, Freedy Johnston, Mojo Nixon, Marshall Crenshaw, Blue Mountain, the Backsliders, Go to Blazes, Tammy Faye Starlite, Spanking Charlene, Sarah Borges and Mary Lee’s Corvette.


But wait, there’s more. Ambel is releasing the new album in a limited signed, numbered vinyl LP edition, including a download card with links to both CD quality and Hi-Res 192/24 bit digital versions of the album. “So here’s my thing,” he says.  “I went ahead and made this crazy record in my studio with a super commitment to hi-fi, and we did it with a combination of super-high-resolution digital and mixing to analog.  People were saying vinyl’s just a fetish, it’s just a fad.  But then it hit me, that the people who are still willing to actually pay for music are the people that buy vinyl and the people who buy hi-res digital.  I’m not making this thing for everybody; I’m making it for the people that want it.

“Also, I like the limitations of vinyl, because working with limitations and rules is great for creativity. Those limitations are almost, like, post-modern.  At a certain point, the glass is full.”

We couldn’t have said it better, Roscoe. Viva le vinyl. More details on the album (preordering for the limited edition wax especially) at his official website. His Facebook page is a lot of fun, too.

Photo credit: Jim Marchese


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